New analysis by Labour has revealed that the central Government grant to fire and rescue services has seen a real-terms cut of £314m or 27% since 2015/16. In Hertfordshire this has dropped by a staggering 40% [1,2].
The figures show that response times have gone up across the board under the Tories, the most significant increase has been in the ‘other outdoor’ category with responses taking 1 minute and 28 seconds longer than in 2009/10 .
It comes as the latest workforce statistics show a loss of 11,224 staff in total (including 9,399 firefighters), with 172 of these locally, a net staffing loss of 1 in 5 Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service workers .
On this news, local Labour Parliamentary Candidate Jill Borcherds, said:
“These statistics lay bare the damage the Tories are willing to inflict on our public services, and the risk they are willing to place us the public in with less fire cover.
“Our Herts Fire and Rescue Service staff do a crucial and fantastic job – but they are being squeezed by insufficient Government funding, and a Tory County Council willing to cut basic fire cover on our fire engines.
“Our Hertfordshire Labour County Councillors alongside colleagues in the Fire Brigades Union have been campaigning on these issues over the past year; with a petition and multiple motions at the County Council to try and stop this relentless Tory attack on public and fire-fighter safety.
“As made clear by the comments of multiple Tory MPs regarding Grenfell Tower and the Government’s failure in resettling the hundreds of its victims: the Tories cannot be trusted with public safety and our public services.”
Responding to this news, Karen Lee MP, Shadow Minister for Fire Services, said:
“At this time of the year, we are reminded that our firefighters are on stand-by to protect us, while we are out and about on bonfire night.
“But a decade of Tory cuts has left our services short of money and short of firefighters, reducing the speed at which they can respond to emergencies.
“You cannot trust the Tories with our fire and rescue service.”